Galion girl recovering from life-threatening injuries after she was “lured into attack” (UPDATED)


UPDATE: Three teens have been charged with felonious assault as juveniles in connection to the attack. 



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Police say charges will likely be filed after a fight lands a teenager in the hospital for days with serious injuries.

The fight happened last Wednesday near 229 E. Payne Avenue and was captured on cell phone by multiple witnesses.

Police say cell phone video shows a 16-year-old girl attacked by what appears to be another teenage girl. Moments later, two other girls join in on the beating.

"This is the first time in her life that she's ever been in a fight. She had no idea what was going on,” family friend Bill Baker said.

Baker is speaking on behalf of Maddie and her family as she recovers from a ruptured spleen, fractured ribs and internal bleeding.

"There's a community responsibility here,” Baker said. “Parents aren't paying attention to what's going on with their kids. Kids have the wrong impression that violence is ok and if you get Facebook likes, you're more popular than somebody else. I don't know the mentality behind it, but it's dangerous."

Galion Police Chief Brian Saterfield calls the fight disturbing on many levels.

"Everybody had their cell phone in their hand and was willing to videotape it, but not one of them was willing to call 911,” he said. "There were plenty of people there to stop it, and they chose not to."

Saterfield tells 10TV his detectives are still trying to identify the participants and roles in the fight. He says possible charges could range from disorderly conduct to felonious assault.

Maddie's family says they are trusting the police investigation will bring justice.

Until then, they are doing whatever they can to help Maddie recover. They are encouraging the community to send Maddie well wishes and encouragement by using #Support4Maddie on social media.

"The physical scars will probably go away long before the emotional ones do,” Baker said. “So it's going to be a long-term recovery."

Maddie and her mother, Brianna McCullough, have issued written statements to the media. Here is what they said about the fight.

Parent Statement:

On Wednesday, March 2nd my daughter was lured into a vicious attack by a group of girls who had conspired to get her into a position from which she could not get away.  This gang of girls, all significantly bigger than my daughter, attacked and repeatedly kicked and punched my daughter while she lay on the ground.  The most disturbing part is that there were more than a dozen onlookers who neither tried to stop it nor called for any help.  As they stood there, cellphones in hand video recording the incident, my daughter suffered several life threatening injuries.  To my dismay, not one observer offered her any help as she got into her own car and drove herself home.  No one called 911.  No one even called to check on her.

Several hours later, as a result of these injures, she was life-flighted to Nationwide Children’s hospital in Columbus where they did an amazing job taking care of her.  These injuries may take months to recover from and may preclude her from returning to school any time soon which means she will be forced to complete her schoolwork from home, on her own.

This bullying has gotten out-of-hand and we, as a society, need to put a stop to it.  We need to teach our children to handle disagreements with civility.  We need to teach our children to stand up for those who are defenseless.  Our society has gotten to the point where everyone wants to be the first to get it onto social media instead of being the first one to get help.  My daughter could easily have died from these injuries had we not gotten her to the hospital when we did.  This has to stop.

We as parents and adults need to start making sure that our children understand that there are consequences for actions.  There should also be consequences for inaction when someone is in danger.  Those who stand-by with their cellphones on record while someone is being hurt are just as guilty as the perpetrators and should be held accountable as well.  The video of this senseless attack was so bad that, as a mother, I can’t even sleep after watching it.  I wish I could go back and un-watch it because it just keeps replaying over and over in my head like some horrible nightmare.

As for my daughter, she is my hero!  She is strong and inspiring.  In spite of her injuries she continues to have a positive attitude.  I would like to personally say thank-you to the hundreds of people who have called, visited, sent flowers or gifts, emailed or just dropped us a simple text of encouragement.  You have no idea how much that has meant to us, especially my daughter, the victim.  We appreciate your continued support and prayers as we move forward.


Brianna McCullough

Victim Statement:

“At first I was so embarrassed to have lost the fight because I knew that was all that was going to be talked about, but I didn’t lose a fight, I got beat up from multiple people beating me. I see this as something that had to happen in order for other people to get help. There has been so many kids… That I’ve never even noticed before… That has come forward and said something about their problems. This experience has been a lot of things for sure, but to get support makes it seem like it is not such a long haul. It makes me stronger inside and out.”